The Sidney Sun-Telegraph - Serving proudly since 1873 as the beautiful Nebraska Panhandle's first newspaper

Sidney student takes part in teaching teachers


September 15, 2017

Forrest Hershberger

Dallas Dunn

Secondary teachers teach to educate young people, at the simplest definition. However, sometimes teachers need a boost in their teaching approach. That boost is even more important when meeting with a teacher of a different language and culture.

Dallas Dunn, a junior at Sidney High School, recently took part in a program at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln designed to help teachers better teach students. In this case, one way to improve teaching is to partner a student with a teacher so both can learn what works and what doesn't in education.

The Department of Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education in the College of Education and Human Sciences at UNL was awarded funding in February of this year through a STARTALK grant for a 14-day Chinese Language, Culture and Technology Summer Academy. The academy is for 20 high school students who are interested in learning Chinese.

Dunn said students are paired with Chinese teachers in the Academy. It was an exchange where students learned the Chinese language, and students taught teachers use of computers such as iPads for learning.

"They taught us how to use the language better," Dunn said.

Dunn was accepted into the Academy after completing the application.

All expenses to attend the Academy were covered: room and board, and use of an iPad for the two weeks.

The program used the LinguaFolio, a learning tool designed to enhance student achievement through systematic goal setting, according to a release from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The program is designed with student-led activities for identifying language understanding, as well as cultural understanding and proficiency level. It is designed to enhance student self-assessment and analysis of learning. In the LinguaFolio program, students can track his or her own progress by using an online version of the program.

The STARTALK Chinese Language, Culture and Technology Summer Academy is limited to 20 students. The 2017 session focused on students who have little or no understanding of the Chinese language.

Dunn said part of the application process included questions on her understanding of Chinese. She said it was a little frightening when she arrived; not knowing anyone at first and primarily a foreign language.

"I didn't think I'd get a chance to learn Chinese," she said.

That changed when she was accepted into the Academy. She gained an interest in learning more Chinese.

"It was a great experience. I got to learn a new language, and meet new friends," she said.

Since completing the Academy, Dunn said she would like to learn more Chinese.


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